Guardiola hopes Barca conquest will leave Man City legacy
REUTERS - Pep Guardiola reckoned he had just seen his new Manchester City charges trounce "the best team in the world" and now hopes the effect of one special Champions League night against Barcelona could leave a profound mark on his club's future.
City's handsome 3-1 victory on Tuesday, carrying the slick pass-and-move imprints of the best Guardiola creations, felt like a landmark for the wealthy 'wannabes' who have long strived for the continental performances to match their financial clout.
They may lack a grand tradition in Europe like Barca but now have the coach who once helped the Catalans revolutionise the game -- and he recognised something hugely significant in the way they came from behind to dominate.
"History means when you face the big teams you are confident to fight against them. We are only three or four months into playing a different way," Guardiola said after an Ilkay Guendogan double and a Kevin de Bruyne free kick overturned Barca's lead through Lionel Messi.
"We try and now we realise we won against the best team. For the future generations, they are going to realise 'Wow these guys are able to beat the best team.'
"It is the same when the group of Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany won the Premier League twice. The players who come now know they have to do that."
After five times being outplayed by Barcelona in recent European combat, City turned the tables in unlikely fashion after 40 minutes of Barca control which persuaded Guardiola that the club he once led to two European titles still have "the best team in the world."
Yet once a defensive lapse had set up Guendogan's equaliser before halftime, Guardiola reckoned "it changed absolutely everything for our mood" and City then gave Barcelona a rare runaround in a game littered with errors amid excellence.
Barca's vaunted trident of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez seemed to shrink in comparison to Sergio Aguero while the magnificent De Bruyne ran the midfield show with Fernandinho, Guendogan and David Silva.
Now it appears Guardiola has come through the worst winless streak of his career with attacking principles and confidence still intact after winning what he had billed as City's "final".
For even if City still have work to do to reach the knockout stages from Group C -- they are just two points behind Barca in second now -- it is hard to escape the feeling all the Pep talking might yet transform another club's face and ambition.
(Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Ian Ransom)